Music GCSE: Franz Liszt, symphonic poems and orchestral music

A profile of Franz Liszt and developments in 19th century music, including his innovations with themes of death and destiny, his virtuoso piano playing, his impressionist themes and his symphonic poems.

We see his long term impact on other composers such as Claude Debussy and Danny Elfman. Includes performances of Liszt's Grand galop chromatique, Fountains of the Villa D'Este, Prometheus, Hunnenschlacht, and Debussy's Gardens in the rain.

This clip is from the series Howard Goodall's Story of Music.

Teacher Notes

Students could use this clip as part of their studies of romanticism and the history of western music.

Follow-on work could include tracking how Liszt's innovations, in particular his symphonic poems and programme music, influenced later composers such as Debussy, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss.

It may also provoke composition work based on an image, story or character.

Curriculum Notes

This topic is relevant to GCSE, AS Level and Higher Music in the areas of Romanticism, Music History and Understanding styles.

More from Howard Goodall's Story of Music:

Notation and melodic movement
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Harmony, intervals, triads and cadences
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Harmony, dissonance and an introduction to opera
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Key signatures, equal temperament and the 12-tone tuning system
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Handel, the pianoforte and oratorio
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Mozart, melodic writing and the symphony
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Haydn, symphonies and melodic writing
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A profile of Beethoven
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Saint-Saëns and developments in French composition
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Debussy, world music and impressionism
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Shostakovich and the effects of Nazi rule on composers
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Minimalism and the advance of music technology
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Stravinsky, Russian music and modernism
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Blues and ragtime
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